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Rangers want Michael Lorenzen to build up before joining rotation. New starter will open on IL

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Newly signed starter Michael Lorenzen will not be on the opening day active roster of the Texas Rangers, who want the All-Star right-hander to build up before moving into their rotation.

General manager Chris Young said Wednesday that Lorenzen will start the season on the 15-day injured list. That move can be backdated to Monday, making Lorenzen eligible to be activated as soon as April 9, during the team's second homestand of the season.

Lorenzen, a first-time All-Star last season with Detroit who threw a no-hitter for Philadelphia after being traded, finalized a $4.5 million, one-year contract with the Rangers last Friday. The World Series champions open the season Thursday at home against the Chicago Cubs.

“We had considered pushing him to be ready on the opening day roster. I think physically, he’s not quite there,” said Young, a former big league pitcher. “Just missing spring training, there’s still some baseball buildup that we need. ... It's the responsible thing to do. Michael has been phenomenal. We're excited about where he is.”

Young said reliever Jonathan Hernández also will start the season on the IL after a strained lat muscle that kept him from pitching in the postseason.

Lorenzen worked out on his own and threw to independent league hitters while waiting to sign with a big league club. The 32-year-old right-hander threw 28 pitches during batting practice at the Rangers ballpark Wednesday, and said he feels good.

“I wanted to come start right away, but I think this is the best way to do it,” said Lorenzen, who had a conversation with Young earlier this week. “He understands. That's the benefits of having an ex-player, an ex-pitcher, making the decisions. We talked and it made the most sense.”

Lorenzen said the plan is to start for Triple-A Round Rock on Saturday, then throw in one more game before he would be eligible to join the Rangers.

All-Star right-hander Nathan Eovaldi will start the opener for Texas. After an off day Friday, he likely will be followed by Dane Dunning, Jon Gray, Andrew Heaney and Cody Bradford in some order.

Manager Bruce Bochy said the rotation order isn't set yet. Gray was scratched from the final exhibition game Tuesday after waking up with neck stiffness. He was set to play catch Wednesday and throw a bullpen session before the opener.

Relief pitchers José Ureña, Jacob Latz and Yerry Rodríguez were told that they made the team. Jared Walsh, who went to camp with a minor league contract, will be on the 26-man roster and be the primary first baseman with Gold Glove winner Nathaniel Lowe starting on the IL because of a right oblique strain.

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AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB